This week was rather exciting. I had been invited to come and give a talk on my experience of raising children in Britain as a non British parent – to talk about my book ‘Bringing Up Brits’ and to chat with a group of international parents about their view points and their experiences. I spent several weeks planning my talk, putting together my slides in Prezi and practicing presenting. I wanted to do a good job.

So on Thursday morning, I went to Surrey armed with a laptop, an iPad, a pop up banner, a USB stick, a Snickers bar (just in case) and a bag full of books. It was an amazing day. I immediately fell in love with the campus and had to stop myself from feeling envious of the parents I was meeting, of their international and somewhat ‘American’ environment. The talk itself I think went well and I’ve had some feedback that the parents enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. So that’s great.

Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Find out how much time it will take to drive from Worthing, Sussex to Egham, Surrey. Then double it. I learned this after the fact, however, driving like a maniac on the M25 made up some of the time!
  • Children do not wear school uniforms at International schools. This was oddly unsettling for me after many years of sending my own kids to school in school uniforms.
  • I never tire of hearing parents’ stories and talking to them about their experiences
  • I love meeting new people (I kinda already knew that!).
  • YouTube videos might not play correctly in Prezi so be prepared and have a back up.
  • Stay hydrated as much as possible to avoid getting a sore throat from so much talking.
  • I am a natural sharer.
  • I enjoy giving talks (never thought I would feel that way).
  • My children are much more American than I sometimes realize or give them credit for.
  • The parents I met at the school are a really lovely bunch of people – warm, genuine, intelligent and welcoming.
  • Windsor is now on my list of places to visit (and I don’t mean LegoLand Windsor!).
  • I’m not the only one in Britain who isn’t a fan of the soggy, napkin wrapped party bag piece of birthday cake.
  • In Argentina, people are crazy!! And very funny.
  • Values we have from our own countries, cultures and backgrounds ARE important and other people feel the same way I do about this.
  • Equally, there is so much we can learn from the British that will improve our quality and enjoyment of life.
  • Remember to take more photos!

Here I am presenting my talk to the parents of ACS Egham International School. By the time this photo was taken by one of the parents, many had had to leave which is why some of the chairs are empty. It was, in fact, a great turnout and a fantastic discussion!
ACS Egham

A few of the wonderful parents I met:
ACS Egham parents

A special thank you to Kendall, Robyn and Alison for asking me to come, for being so warm and welcoming and for all your help on the day.

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Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits and co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs with Heidi Mulligan Walker. Meghan is also the Director and Chief Designer at her own design company, White Ochre Design Ltd. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.